The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

February 15, 2013

Local coaches amused, baffled by IOC decision

Imagine McDonald’s with no Big Mac. Baseball with no New York Yankees. “Die Hard” with no Bruce Willis.

There are icons, and then there are no-brainers. The recommendation earlier this week by the International Olympic Committee to cut wrestling from the Games was just that — nobody used their brains.

The IOC probably didn’t anticipate the backlash the proposed move has caused. Wrestling will still be an Olympic sport at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, and the sport could actually be spared in a vote to add a sport from a list of 15 that includes baseball, which was cut after the 2008 Games in Beijing.

Still, the fact that this move is even a thought is among the most ridiculous ever. Even if you don’t like wrestling, it’s easy to understand the sport’s place in Olympics lore. Wrestling was among the sports contested at the first modern Games in 1896 in Athens, Greece.

Enough said, but the decision makers at the IOC aren’t listening.

Coaches at the Class AA/A Region 3 tournament seemed to find the decision “mind-boggling,” as 2004 Olympic Greco-Roman champion Khasan Baroeve told The Associated Press, but were hopeful, if not optimistic, that common sense will prevail.

“I think they’ll get it back,” Greenbrier West coach Jeremy Tincher said. “I think it’s a lot like what our whole country deals with — it’s a bunch of politics, and the wrong people are on the IOC and they don’t care about it. I really don’t think they thought this kind of ruckus would be raised.”

But it has. United States politicians have even gotten involved, including Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who, according to the AP, led a team of wrestling advocates Friday in launching a campaign to stop the move.

“When the International Olympic Committee voted by way of secret ballot to remove wrestling from the Games in 2020, we felt that decision was shortsighted, and was a significant departure from Olympic tradition,” Branstad said, noting that a website was launched Thursday to collect petition signatures. As of Friday afternoon, more than 2,000 people had added their names.

Liberty coach Randy Daniel chuckled when asked about the IOC’s decision.

“Considering some of the sports they do have in there, it really surprised me because it’s more of a real sport, I guess would be the way to say it,” Daniel said. “I’m not going to pick one and say which one is a sport and which one isn’t, but two guys going in there, head to head, that’s pretty good competition right there.”

“When you watch the Olympics and see all the different sports being played, there is a lot more that we can cut,” Independence coach Cliff Warden said.

Warden worries about the affect the move would have in regard to the sport’s natural progression. Winning a gold medal at the Olympics is the ultimate dream for a wrestler.

“What makes a high school wrestler so good is striving for that next level,” he said. “Now what level are the NCAA kids going to strive for if it’s gone? ... The Ohio Regional Training Center that (Ohio State assistant coach Lou) Rosselli has, is it going to be vacant? Is Ohio State going to fall off the ladder a little bit because they’re not training with future Olympians?

“It’s going to make a difference, I think, at the collegiate level.”

Midland Trail coach Charlie Pritt believes, eventually, the IOC will realize its error and leave the sport alone.

“Obviously, I’ve got a lot of hope that it will come back,” Pritt said. “I don’t know how you can get rid of the founding sport. But I’ve got confidence that they will come to their senses and bring it back.”

— E-mail: gfauber

Text Only
Latest Sports
  • 072414 WV Open.jpg Familiarity with Cobb helps Hess take lead

    It wouldn’t be a stretch to say Kenny Hess is comfortable playing the Cobb Course at Glade Springs Resort.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Golf and motocross are Jude’s passions

    Motocross and golf have very little in common.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVU’s Worley clear starter at cornerback

    There were few bright spots in West Virginia University’s 4-8 football campaign last year, and even fewer on the defensive side of the football, where the Mountaineers gave up more than 455 yards and 33 points per game.

    July 24, 2014

  • How to discover and love Major League Soccer

    When I began my soccer fandom following a missions trip to Brazil in 2000, I didn’t know what my next step was. I knew I loved watching the game, but there weren’t a lot of options for seeing it in the U.S. I knew of Major League Soccer — mostly from my friend and current FC Dallas beat writer Drew Epperley — but it was hard to find.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holgorsen to appear on ESPN special

    West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen will appear Wednesday on ESPN’s annual mid-summer college football coaches’ “car wash” — in which guests appear across multiple programs and platforms over one day.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072314 brand Bradshaw or the field?

    If a betting window were set up on the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs for the 81st West Virginia Open Championship, which begins at 8 a.m. this morning, the most popular wager would probably be David Bradshaw against the field.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holgorsen: WVU getting comfortable in new league

    Dana Holgorsen remembers the glory days of West Virginia University football — the ones that included conference championships and BCS bowl wins. In fact, he was part of one of those, leading the Mountaineers to a Big East championship and an Orange Bowl victory in his first season as head coach in 2011.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072314 justice Home sweet home away from home

    When Greenbrier owner Jim Justice was handed a copy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch Sunday, his eyes lit up like a Rockefeller Center Christmas tree on a cold December night.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072314 miners Miners take series with Paints

    The way the West Virginia Miners see it, they don’t have the luxury of planning for tomorrow.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Saints Training Camp